2016 Master Teacher Melissa Miller shares her love of learning with students

Dr. Melissa Miller, named the 2016 Master Teacher at Bowling Green State University, believes the most important aspect of teaching is sharing a contagious enthusiasm for learning.

“While brilliant scholars can bore students to proverbial tears, brilliant teachers convey a contagious enthusiasm for learning that is literally infectious,” Miller wrote. “Enthusiasm drives all of the other factors we tend to bandy about when ticking off what makes a great teacher: passion, dedication, charisma, intellect.”

Miller, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, received the prestigious Master Teacher Award at the Faculty Excellence Awards Ceremony and Reception April 14. This is the highest teaching award presented to faculty and the only student-driven and student-selected award at BGSU. It comes with a $1,000 check presented by the Student Alumni Connection.

In addition to enthusiasm, Miller brings several qualities to the classroom that resonate with students.

“Having an enthusiastic, student-centered approach to every classroom session is the key to student learning, as well as the promotion of student growth as citizens and leaders in the BGSU and broader communities,” Miller wrote. “My teaching philosophy is driven by a desire to produce not just good students, but good citizens able to confront and address challenges in their lives, work and communities. Classroom experiences that build habits – of problem-solving, teamwork, resourcefulness and ingenuity – will serve students far into the future, as lifelong Falcons.”

This includes the incorporation of research in the classroom. Miller believes there is no better way to learn political science than to actually conduct it. While at BGSU, undergraduates have been involved with every research study Miller has undertaken.

This award is a way for students to say thank you to faculty for positively impacting their lives by providing knowledge, guidance and skills. For Miller, this recognition honors a career that she finds infinitely more satisfying than that of political consultant.

“Intellectually, the professor’s day is far richer than that of my former career,” Miller wrote. “Daily, I am energized by new social scientific information I encounter within my discipline, challenged by intriguing questions and conversations with my students, and enlightening during conversations with my colleagues.”